The curtain is being drawn on the SEA Games in Malaysia. The host has undisputedly won the most gold medals. The first runner-up is left far behind in the medal standing.
Many people are however questioning the dominance of Malaysia in the Games. Some Malaysian athletes won gold medals despite rule violations.
In the 10,000 metre walkathon, Malaysian athlete Elena Gohling Yin is accused of violating the rules by having two feet floating above the ground at the same time. That escaped the referee’s attention. The athlete kept on until she won gold.
Malaysian athletes were also awarded equal points to win “double” gold. In the pommel horse competition, two Malaysian competitors, Tan Fu Jie and Jeremiah Loo, were awarded 13,650 points equally. They both won gold medals.
There was also transport hiccups for visiting athletes. Thai female volleyball team, which is touted as the ‘best in Asia’ was given a transport coach, but without a driver. This in turn deprived them of some crucial practice sessions. But still, the Thai team went on to win gold.
Events were also rescheduled without prior notices. Final boxing matches were hit by last-minute rescheduling. The host moved matches up by 2 hours. For the Thai boxers this meant that their match was rescheduled to 1pm instead of 3pm. The Thai boxing manager complained that this was a psychological tactic, which gave the Thai camp less time to prepare.
The arena for the final soccer match between Thailand and Malaysia was also abruptly changed. The match was announced to be held at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. But the host claimed that the planned original venue was not ready and moved it to the Shah Alam Stadium. But still, the Malaysians lost.
The closing ceremony for the SEA Games was held on 30th August. Several netizens have suggested that the Government of Malaysia is planning to ride on the glory and goodwill generated by the medal tally in the Games to urge its citizens to vote for it in the coming General Elections.
The Malaysian General Elections must be called on or before 24 August 2018, but their Prime Minister Najib Razak sounded the war drums for it in July itself, leading many to speculate that it will be called next month.
The many obstacles placed in front of its guests at the recently concluded SEA Games, just to ensure a better advantage for the host, suggests that sports and politics should never mix.